” We all understand that. We all write with one hand and we can usually write with our other hand. It takes longer, it’s more awkward, it doesn’t feel right. It is our brain and our preferred preference. But if you wrote everyday with your less preferred hand, over time that would get easier and your brain would actually make changes that…are positively affected based on using your hands differently. ”
Michelle Emanuel has been a pediatric Occupational Therapist for 20 years. She has experience in the NICU, the PICU and the CICU and outpatient areas. Her s peciality ranges from the newborn to the precrawling baby and her focus has been on torticollis, plagiocephaly and oral restrictions and dysfuntion. Michelle developed the TummyTime Method program ten years ago in order to empower and equip parents with home activities to support optimal function and development. Michelle has studied extensively with osteopaths, doctors and leading researchers in her quest to provide the highest quality of care.
Michelle was a pediatric occupational therapist before she became a parent. She is a mother of 1 son and 2 daughters. Tummy Time Method is a result of her professional work as much as her personal journey with her children. Michelle describes her son as being easy going and he breastfed well. Michelle did do Tummy Time with him and while he did have a bit of trouble with it, she was easily able to work through it.
She had varying degrees of problems with her daughters breastfeeding. Her son was an easy baby and went everywhere with her. Her first daughter had a lot of nursing trouble. At the time of her daughters birth, she was working in the NICU as an oral motor feeding professional. Her baby was chewing on her nipples, which were bleeding and she was in a lot of pain. One day Michelle was looking at a picture she had taken of her daughter and she noticed that her baby looked like she had some sort of motor problem. While this may not have been evident in her daily life, taking a look at this picture made things crystal clear to her that her daughter had some sort of motor problem.
Michelle began to look further into what could be wrong because she knew something was wrong with her tongue. She knew that she was tongue tied however, there was little support and knowledge with other healthcare providers. In her schooling, she never learned anything about tongue tie. She asked other healthcare providers who she worked with and found there was very little knowledge in this area. She really worked hard with her daughter, working on her tongue and neck and working out the postural tension. She noticed that it was difficult for her daughter as she was getting overwhelmed. She began looking into the basics of tummy time and looking deeper into this. She started seeing her daughters improvement and knew this was working well.
Her third child was born and was “the worse nurser ever.” Michelle understands that had she known more, she would have done things differently. “When I know better, I do better.” She did have her second babies frenulum released. At 5 years of age, she took her to several other physicians who did not want to do anything. She did find an ENT who was willing to do the release, however, he insisted that the procedure be done under general anesthesia. Michelle wanted her daughter to have the procedure, could not find anyone else willing to do it, so she went along with his recommendation. She does say that she would do differently now that she knows better.She actually got released again this year as a teenager because she had a lot of scar tissue that was not addressed years ago
She only nursed her third baby for 6 months, whereas she nursed her other daughter for 18 months. In hindsight, she recognizes that there were other factors at work also. There was lots of family stress, however, her supply was not keeping up and she was not as passionate about pumping to keep up her supply.She knows she would do different now.
That is when she “packaged” the Tummy Time method together. It was a way for her to make a lot of bonds and connection with her kids. She was benefiting from it. It was directly affecting the head and neck
As she transitioned to the outpatient arena, she began seeing more babies with all sorts of developmental issues such as plagiocephaly, torticollis and developmental issues.
Plagiocephaly – is when part of the head is flattened, usually one side. Any kind of head molding.
Brachycephaly – back of the head is flat
Scaphocephaly – where the head is very narrow.
Torticollis – is when the baby favors one side over the other and doesn’t get an opportunity to turn the other way to open up this whole area.
Treatment for these issues is:
Movement and tummy time and getting off the flat spot and getting out of containers.A flat head is always a sign of decreased movement. Which happens in utero and is exacerbated by babies spending lots of time in containers in their early days of life.
Head turning preference is fairly common in the early 3-4 weeks. However, if this issue is still seen at 3-4 weeks and is quite prominent, this is the time to take a further look at the tongue and any other restrictions.
We discuss the report of babies showing a breast preference, which may not be the favoritism to to one breast. Michelle details the reasons for this. This can make babies act very frustrated and just not being comfortable with breastfeeding.
Why would a parent want to learn about tummy time:
It is a great excuse for doing something with your baby that you can get on the floor and have fun with your baby. All babies in the womb are not using their digestive system much, so one of the things about putting weight on the belly is that it helps to stimulate the neuro-developmental processes of developing our gut brain.
Prone position – This can help with colicky issues and other GI issues in babies.
Visual Development – they begin to use one side of their eye muscle outside of their eyeballs. They begin to learn how to move their eyeball without moving their heads. They begin to learn about upward gaze and having their eyeballs work together. It really is a delightful sensation for babies.
Michelle spends some time discussing how brain development and how tummy time can be helpful with this. Michelle goes into some good detail about brain development and growth in the first few years in this section of the show.
listen Now Part 1
listen Now Part 2
Lori J. Isenstadt, IBCLC
Lori Jill Isenstadt, IBCLC is a huge breastfeeding supporter. She has spent much of her adult life working in the maternal health field. Once she became turned on to birth and became a childbirth educator, there was no stopping her love of working with families during their childbearing years. Lori became a Birth doula and a Postpartum doula and soon became a lactation consultant. She has been helping moms and babies with breastfeeding for over 25 years. Lori founded her private practice, All About Breastfeeding where she meets with moms one on one to help solve their breastfeeding challenges. She is an international speaker, book author and the host of the popular itunes podcast, All About Breastfeeding, the place where the girls hang out. You can reach Lori by email at: [email protected] or contact her via her website: allaboutbreastfeeding.biz/contact
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